HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY DR. HOFMANN!!!
A recent photo of Dr. Albert Hofman
"LSD spoke to me. He came to me and said, 'You must find me.' He told me, 'Don’t give me to the pharmacologist.'"
- ALBERT HOFMANN
Albert Hoffman, the discoverer of lysergic acid diethylamide-25, more commonly known as LSD (from the German acronymn) is 100 today.
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU Dr. HOFMANN!!
Hofmann, through this discovery became one of the most influential men of 20th century, his discovery having profound influences on music, mysticism, writing, magick, youth culture and even the military.
Hofmann, born this day in 1906 in Baden, Switzerland has always had a conflicted relationship with what he calls his "Problem Child" (from the title of his book "LSD, my problem child"). Hoffman's main interest in chemistry, up until his discovery, had been the structure of plants and animals, and he first synthesised LSD-25 from wheat argot whilst working for Sandoz laboratories in 1938.
The drug was filed away, as Hofmann was not aware of its properties, and the research that produced it was focused on improvements in farming, which LSD-25 did not appear to effect. It wasn't until some three years later, after accidentally absorbing LSD-25 through his fingertips that Hofmann discovered its hallucinogenic properties.
Three days after that, on April 14th 1943 (LSD enthusiasts, now know of this date as bicycle day, a day for psychedelic celebration) Hofmann purposely ingested 250µg of LSD and experienced extreme psychedelic effects whilst riding home on his bicycle. Hofmann then followed this with a series of experiments on himself, which he first wrote about on April 22nd, the first glimpse of what he has called "a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality." he went on to say that "I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature," and that "any natural scientist who is not a mystic is not a real natural scientist." furthermore "Outside is pure energy and colorless substance, all of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings."
It was not until many years later, that LSD-25, became known in popular culture by the efforts of men like Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, as Acid.
Hofman has never been a fan of the popularisation of acid by men like Leary, in fact he has said that Leary's distribution and popularisation of LSD was, in fact, "a crime" and has added that it allowed the drug to be "hijacked by the youth movement of the 1960's and then demonized by the establishment that the movement opposed." Hofmann is in favor of LSD having the status of a controlled substance, in much the same way that morphine is today, as it is quite as capable of bringing you as Aldous Huxly once remarked about mescaline, to Heaven or to Hell.
Though Hofmann has been viewed as having an ambiguous view of his child, he seems to view it as essentially a positive gift to humanity. He calls it "medicine for the soul" and is dismayed by the worldwide illegalisation of the drug.
Now a century old, a recent New York Times interviewer described Dr. Hofmann as being "physically reduced but mentally clear" a man whose eyes grow bright when he recounts tales of his boyhood, the beauty of nature and the ability LSD gave him to witness "a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality."
Now with mans mortality more on his mind as the centenary of his birth dawns, he said "I know LSD; I don't need to take it anymore, maybe when I die, like Aldous Huxley". Huxley famously asked his wife, when he was on his death bed, to inject him with LSD and read to him from the Tibetan book of the dead.
Hofmann's recent interviews always come around to the one topic, mans oneness with nature, and our increasing alienation from that awareness. Hofmann insists that "It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature. In the big cities, there are people who have never seen living nature, all things are products of humans. The bigger the town, the less they see and understand nature. And, yes, LSD, could help reconnect people to the universe."
Today Dr. Hofmann is attending a symposium in Basel, near his home, on the drug that he discovered and that blew open the Blakean doors of perception.
So again, Happy Birthday Dr. Hofmann, may you have many more.
Peace and Hope